Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Over the years, long after its hey-day in the 40s, filmmakers have tried to keep the film noir genre alive.  But with "Brick," writer/director Rian Johnson takes a new twist on this genre by setting his noir story, written in the style of Dashiell Hammett, in that most dangerous world of high school.

This version of a California high school is a far cry from "High School Musical," "Hannah Montana," and most shows on the CW.  Instead of focusing on cliques of jocks, preps, and nerds, it focuses on rival factions of drug dealers.  One faction is run by a 26-year-old with a crippled foot called The Pin.  The other is run by a hotheaded motorhead named Tug.  While the two gangs are allies, the alliance is like a powder keg that needs only a spark to explode.

That spark is provided by Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), whose former girlfriend Emily has gone missing.  She makes a panicked call to him from a pay phone, which sets Brendan on the hunt to find her.  After he finds that she's dead (not a spoiler as it's the first scene of the movie) he's determined to find out who killed her and why.

Brendan has to practically turn the school upside down, nearly getting himself killed in the process.  The only one he can trust is his loyal friend and sidekick The Brain.  Then there's the lovely cheerleader Laura, but whose side is she on?

This is the kind of movie you need to watch at least twice because there are so many intricate twists and turns that you're bound to miss something the first time.  With a mystery that's always a good thing.  I haven't watched a lot of film noir, so I don't know how true or untrue it is in tone.

Because it takes place in high school, there are some odd, almost funny moments, like how The Pin operates out of his mom's basement.  Either she's pretty clueless, in denial, or in on it.  For that matter none of these kids seem to have very attentive parents or teachers.  For high schoolers they don't seem very concerned with going to classes or doing homework.  And really it's a pretty dangerous school with fights in the parking lot and armed hitmen running around.

I enjoyed this movie the first time and even more the second time.  And there's no singing--except a few seconds at a party--so that's a bonus too.

BTW, did anyone who watched "Third Rock From the Sun" ever think the kid from that show would go on to have a successful film career?  It's kind of bizarre.

That is all.

My score:  90/100 (3.5 stars)

Metacritic score:  72/100 (3 stars)

No comments:

Post a Comment